Comedian Bill Maher, on his weekly HBO talk show Real Time with Bill Maher, tackled the growing distance between China and the United States.
One point of contention? High-speed rail.
In a monologue about China’s industrialized progress – in spite of human rights abuses – Maher noted that the country had built thousands of miles of rail for high-speed trains.
“In China alone, they have 40,000 kilometers of high-speed rail,” Maher said during Saturday’s show. “America has… none.”
Then Maher pivoted to California’s wayward efforts to build a high-speed rail system.
“We’re six billion in the hole just trying to finish the track connecting the vital hubs of Bakersfield and Merced,” Maher joked.
“One small step for nobody, one giant leap if you’re a raisin.”
California’s much-maligned high-speed rail effort was touted as a moonshot project under Gov. Jerry Brown’s tenure at the helm of the Golden State.
Upon taking office in 2018, Gov. Gavin Newsom reined in the project – limiting a once-statewide rail system to the San Joaquin Valley alone.
Recently, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer reiterated their support for the multi-billion-dollar project.
The vast bulk of high-speed rail construction jobs are based in Fresno. The California High-Speed Rail Authority – and a number of its senior executive jobs – are headquartered in San Jose.
Asm. Adam Gray (D–Merced) stuck up for his hometown on Twitter following the lampooning:
@billmaher couldn’t agree more & glad Merced made your show. Unlike LA & SF where nothing is built (ex: solar) the #SJvalley builds & grows. Maybe b/c my constituents aren’t obsessed w/ cancel culture & elitist ideas? Come visit; you might realize how vital we are. BTW—I’m a Dem. https://t.co/WKGli6xKfW— Assemblymember Gray (@AdamGrayCA) March 14, 2021